Driver banned for crash he ‘doesn’t remember’

Andrew Vanstone's overturned car

Andrew Vanstone's overturned car - Credit: Archant

A financial adviser, whose car overturned in a crash on a road near Sidbury, has admitted dangerous driving and having insufficient tread on his rear tyres.

Andrew Vanstone, 50, of Topsham Road, Exeter, told a court he had no memory of the incident on January 30 – and that he had to accept accounts from other motorists that he overtook three cars before the accident on the A375.

The BMW M3 he had bought only two months before was written off and he suffered concussion, but he was the only person injured, Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday.

Vanstone’s defence solicitor said he had left his home, then in Sidmouth, at 7am for an appointment in Somerset, giving himself plenty of time – but his client could remember nothing until he was later questioned by the police.

“He wasn’t in a particular rush,” said the solicitor. “He accepts the statements of the drivers of the three vehicles, but doesn’t understand why he was in a hurry.

“He was only a couple of miles from his house, knew the road well and that it wasn’t a road to overtake three cars on.

“All he can do is accept the accounts that he lost control of the car. He accepts that overtaking was a stupid and dangerous thing to do.

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“Fortunately, the consequences were only to Mr Vanstone. He does accept it could have been much worse.”

The solicitor said Vanstone bought the car at the beginning of January, shortly after an MOT, although he still decided to replace all four tyres.

He said the only explanation his client could offer was that snow chains had been placed on the tyres on a ski trip to The Alps, which may have worn their outer edges – and if he had known, he would have replaced them.

The solicitor added that the consequences of a driving ban would be considerable for Vanstone because, as a self-employed financial adviser, he had to visit clients in their own homes. These were often in locations difficult or costly to reach by public transport or a taxi.

District judge Stephen Nicholls gave Vanstone credit for an early guilty plea.

Vanstone was banned from driving for 12 months, ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work and to pay costs totalling £265.

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